Midwifery: Be A Hero

They finally got around to putting More Business Of Being Born on Netflix (watch the trailer here). Hurray! I’ve been working my way through the four episodes that talk in depth about The Farm and Ina May Gaskin, doulas, places to birth, cesareans and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). My favorite one, of course, is the celebrity birth stories told by the women themselves. It’s an impressive bunch and I think you should watch it.

In the re-telling of her birth story, Melissa Joan Hart said a phrase that I hear over and over again. Especially by women who are having hospital births and are considering getting an epidural. She explained that she wanted to have a natural birth, but “didn’t want to be a hero.” Really truly, this is such a common phrase that people tell pregnant mothers. They are told by their doctors, nurses, friends and family that there is no reason to suffer, no reason to be a hero. Go ahead, get an epidural. Why should you feel pain just because you’re birthing a baby?

My response to this is…do it. Be a hero. Be a hero for your baby, be a hero for your family, be a hero for women, be a hero for yourself. Feeling the pain of childbirth, moving through it and allowing your body to DO IT’S JOB by creating LIFE and birthing it from your body is HEROIC.

There are thousands of books, spanning thousands of years dedicated to the hero. Movies, stories, fairy tales, all with a hero. People strive in their day to day lives to be a hero by helping one another, saving lives, donating $$$, donating blood. Children run around yards wearing capes, playing heroes. It’s practically human nature to aspire to be one. When given the actual opportunity to be heroic, why would anyone turn that opportunity down just because the chance presents itself in the form of birth?

What hero doesn’t overcome pain, suffering and challenge?  Martin Luther King Jr. faced racism and bigotry, but persevered in his quest for equality. Hellen Keller was born deaf and blind, but overcame those obstacles to become an activist, lecturer and author. Sacajawea was married at 13 and then sold or won (as in being used as property) before finding her way to the Lewis and Clark expedition. Without her help, there was a very real possibility that they wouldn’t have survived and found their way to the discovery of the Pacific Ocean. Oh, and she was pregnant, gave birth and cared for her small baby while doing this. Surely, birth is no more difficult and just as noble as the obstacles that these, and so many others, overcame with persistence, ability, support and a profound belief in life. Being a hero isn’t easy, but who ever said it was or should be? Isn’t it the struggle that makes us root for the hero in the end?

At the Farm to Fork dinner a few weeks ago a gentleman asked the table, if we could have any super power what it would be? Most people said flight (me included, thanks to this post) and a couple people said invisibility. Guess what. I know, and other women who have had un-medicated births know, that right after you birth a baby and in the following weeks you feel like you have mega-super- human strength. I know it’s not just me because all the women in More Business Of Being Born said the same thing. There is nothing the universe could throw your way that you couldn’t handle. I truly believe that this power is in everyone. Women are just lucky to have a clear way to access it. Over time this feeling gets subdued as you settle into a new routine and a new life, but it doesn’t go away. It’s simply laying low, under the surface. Waiting for the next time you need to call upon your super human strength. The next time you need to be a hero.

The future generation of heroes.

Porter trying to attain super human powers through the force known as sugar.

This child made a super hero out of me.

*If you want to know why I care so much about this, follow the link to this post.

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